Robotics is back for the 2021-2022 school year! Below are descriptions of the different robotics team levels offered at Holy Spirit and a link to a form to fill out if you are interested. If there are enough students interested at a given level and at least one volunteer to coach the team, you will be sent a link to register and pay for robotics later in August. We will continue to charge $100 for participants in grades 1–5 as this should cover the registration and materials’ fees at those two levels. For students in grades 6–8 participating in the FIRST Tech Challenge Team, the cost will be $120 per participant to cover fees and the costs of materials.  
We participate in challenges created by FIRST Robotics (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). This program encourages students to grow in their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in an environment that encourages cooperation within competitions. Students are expected to demonstrate both Coopertition and Gracious Professionalism within their teams and at community events.
For more information about FIRST Robotics, check out the FIRST website. For more information about Holy Spirit’s program, email Rebecca Dennis-Johnson.
A quick note for 6th grade parents: In the past, sixth graders were expected to participate at the FLL Challenge level. However, with so many schools adopting a middle school model with grades 6–8 learning together, High Tech Kids (the Minnesota FIRST affiliate) allows sixth graders to participate on FTC teams that used to be reserved for students in grades 7 and up. You know your child best, so please pick the appropriate level for your child.  

FIRST Lego League Explore (Grades 1–3) – Cargo Connect

In this challenge, students will learn how cargo is transported, sorted and delivered to locations using the LEGO WeDo set. Teams will consist of 3-6 team members and will meet once a week for about an hour. They will have an opportunity to share what they have built with the Holy Spirit community as well as attend an Expo at the end of their season where they will have an opportunity to show judges what they have learned. The Expo is generally on a weekend morning. The date and location will be determined this fall.
Coaching at this level requires no special technical skills. A coach’s manual, student journals and building materials are provided. The commitment is one day a week for about an hour for 6–8 weeks and attendance at the Expo.
If your child is interested, please fill out the form linked below. Once we have a minimum of 3 students and a coach, you will be sent a link to register your child and pay the registration fee.
Email Rebecca Dennis-Johnson if interested.

FIRST Lego League Challenge (Grades 4–6) – Cargo Connect

At this level, students work in teams of 4–8 to use a LEGO Mindstorms Robot and meet 1–2 times a week for 1–2 hours. A list of challenges for the robot to compete is created by FIRST with each separate challenge assigned point values. The team chooses challenges to work on to earn points during their tournament. They will also work on a project connected to the year’s theme of sorting, transporting and delivering cargo. Each team will participate in a day-long tournament where they will have about 5 opportunities to earn points on the challenge board. In addition, they will meet with several sets of judges where they will present their project, discuss their design process and solve a challenge to show the judges how they work together using Coopertition and Gracious Professionalism. Tournament dates will be determined this fall.
Anyone can coach at this level if they are willing to learn with the team. Tutorials and workshops are available. We have middle school students who are familiar with the Mindstorms robots students will be using. 
Email Rebecca Dennis-Johnson if interested.

First Tech Challenge (Grades 6-8) – Freight Frenzy

We plan on having two teams at this level. We received a grant from the Minnesota Independent School Forum to start a girls’ robotics team at Holy Spirit and have an additional robot to use for a boys’ or a mixed team, depending on how many students choose to participate.  
At this level, students build a robot using a REV robotics base which they drive on the playing field. FIRST designs a game and the team creates a robot to compete in the game. Four robots are on the board at a time, with each robot assigned randomly to either the red or blue team. Teams play the game 4-5 times and points accumulate throughout the tournament. In addition to the game, teams are required to document their design process through an engineering notebook, work to educate their community about the importance of STEM, and demonstrate the qualities of Coopertition and Gracious Professionalism. They meet with judges to discuss these things between rounds.
We need students with a variety of skills for this team. We need:

  • Creative thinkers to come up with design solutions
  • Builders to put together structures on the robot
  • Programmers who can program the robot to use what is built
  • Writers to keep the engineering notebook up to date and write a script for the judges’ presentation
  • Artists who can draw diagrams of what the team wants to do and create a visual display of our outreach
  • Drivers to manipulate the robot during competitions
  • Leaders who can guide the team, keep members on track and perform outreach within our community 

We compete in two competitions at this level. Because we are on the younger end of the scale, the first competition is a learning experience. Students come away with a better understanding of the game and what the judges are looking for. They can then make changes to their robot, engineering notebook, and judges’ presentations before participating in the next competition. The cost is greater here because we need a budget for additional materials and must pay for two competitions.

Coaching mainly involves keeping students focused on the task at hand. Coaches or mentors with mechanical and programming knowledge are appreciated, even if they cannot make every meeting.
Email Rebecca Dennis-Johnson if interested.